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in Wildlife gardening
In all the 17 years we've lived here there have never been tadpoles or newts in our pond and I'd really like to change this. I think part of the problem might be that the pond is built into a grass bank and the sides are all raised so there's no easy way for a frog to get in or out. I read somewhere about creating a "frog ladder" - should I do this and, if so, how?
Also we keep a net over the pond in the winter to keep leaves and herons out. When should we remove this to let frogs in to breed?
We do have fish in the pond but I only put them in because we had a problem with mosquitoes. If we had frogs we wouldn't need the fish, would we?
We do often see toads in the garden but not frogs. I don't think the toads can use the pond for breeding though either.
I think as well as making good access you would need to import spawn as frogs tend to go back to where they came from to spawn. Not all fish eat frogspawn but most of the common pond fish do.
Have you somewhere you could have a second pond more suited to wildlife? Sunk in rather than raised, no fish, no net.
If you can arrange some rocks, stones and gravel etc at one area of the pond edge to give a slope into the pond, it will do the job of a ladder. It'll let other birds and wildlife in as well. The fish will tend to eat any frogspawn so you may always find that's a problem, but if you can make a bit of a barrier with more rocks across the pond in the same area you might be able to prevent the fish getting to that bit so easily and it'll give the tadpoles/froglets a fighting chance!
If your net has a large enough size hole the frogs and toads will be able to get through it, or you could simply leave a bit of a gap where you put the 'ladder'.
A wildlife ramp is a simple matter to construct, a shelved ramp of pebbles,gravel,slate is not only essential for frogs and toads, but other wildlife to clamber in and out of the pond.
As nut says, you'd need to import some frog spawn to stock your pond, then they will take care of the rest.
Frogs produce tons of spawn so I wouldn't worry about the fish eating it, plenty of other things eat frog spawn, including frogs and tadpoles(they're cannibals), building a frog tunnel I have seen using a piece of drainpipe.
Thanks for the advice. I'll put in a ramp and then ask a friend for some frog spawn. Quite tempted by the idea of a 2nd pond as well....
you can't have too many ponds SG.
I don't see many frogs although I have been given spawn at various times. I have hundreds of newts though to make up for that. They probably ate all the frogspawn
Nutcutlet.................I agree about the ponds...........the more the better if you have the space. I have noticed my Newts will eat the frog spawn and also the fish eggs. I have stacks of frogs in my pond and also some fish. Although both spawn, few seem to survive the Newts appetite.
This year, I'm thinking about keeping some spawn in containers to replenish the frog population.
Thanks for all this - I've just spent a happy two hours planning my new pond, even to the extent of looking for pond liner prices on the web. Just need to persuade my husband now...!
I'm sure your husband will see how good a new pond would be SG .
I did start off by accepting other peoples' cast off fish in my ponds. The heron thought it was great. It still makes hopeful visits occasionally and must find something or it wouldn't come back.
None for years now. Early on I spotted what looked like thousands of baby fish, the ponds were boiling with them. Then I spotted the external gills. Newtlets.
I have learnt a bit since then
Singing gardener, I know you won't like my advice, but it is not a good idea to move spawn from somewhere else to your pond. You may be transporting disease.
There are frogs and toads everywhere, sorry, but they don't like your pond!
Disease has to be considered in the fishpond. It's a good excuse to dig another one for wildlife
Well, we've agreed on the 2nd pond anyway so I'll put it in and wait to see whether the frogs regard it as a desirable residence. Won't be finished in time for this season though as it's part of a more major landscaping project.
Let us see some photos when you get round to it SG
Do you have plenty of water plants in your pond? Frogs like to hide under foliage. If not this is something you could do in the second pond you are going to create. Have a shallow side for the frogs and for any hedgehogs that might fall in, so they can get out again. Best of luck with your new project.
Thanks Tracey. Yes, there are plenty of plants but the sides are rather steep, which might be the problem. I'll definitely have a shallow side in the new pond.
I never get hedgehogs in my garden either, which is sad. I've had them in all my previous gardens but never in this one. All my other gardens have been in villages though and this one is in the middle of nowhere surrounded by farmland so perhaps that's the reason.